Father visits Ahed Tamimi in jail for first time, says she’s in good spirits
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Father visits Ahed Tamimi in jail for first time, says she’s in good spirits

Bassem Tamimi says 17-year-old on trial for slapping soldier spends her time doing school work, reading, and focusing on her English studies

Bassem Tamimi (C) the father of sixteen-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi (UNSEEN), a well-known campaigner against Israel's occupation, waves at his daughter during a hearing in the Israeli military court at Ofer military prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on January 15, 2018. (Thomas Coex/AFP)
Bassem Tamimi (C) the father of sixteen-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi (UNSEEN), a well-known campaigner against Israel's occupation, waves at his daughter during a hearing in the Israeli military court at Ofer military prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on January 15, 2018. (Thomas Coex/AFP)

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The father of 17-year-old Palestinian icon Ahed Tamimi visited his daughter and wife in prison Monday for the first time since they were both arrested in December, after footage of them slapping and shoving IDF soldiers in the West Bank went viral.

Bassem Tamimi said he spoke to Ahed and his wife Nariman for 45 minutes, using a telephone as they sat on the other side of a window.

The elder Tamimi said Tuesday they are both in good spirits. He said Ahed spends her time doing school work, reading, and focusing on her English studies.

Also Monday, a petition to allow Ahed’s trial be open to the public was denied by the Military Court of Appeals.

Explaining his decision, Judge Gilad Peretz wrote that he did he not feel that he had the authority to overrule the court’s original decision on February 13.

He added that the original decision to hold the trial behind closed doors was legitimate because “it is in the best interest of the minor.”

Sixteen-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi (2-R) attends a hearing at the Ofer Military Court in the West Bank on January 15, 2018. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

Tamimi’s trial for slapping a soldier guarding near her home has drawn attention from around the globe, highlighting the teen’s image as a Palestinian icon. She has become a cause célèbre for Palestinian supporters, and rallies calling for her release have been held in several locations around the world.

Many Palestinians see her as bravely standing up to military control over the West Bank, while Israelis accuse her family of using her as a pawn.

With Monday’s rejection, the trial is slated to continue behind closed doors on Wednesday at the Ofer Military Court.

Just over a month after her December 19 arrest, a separate military judge ruled to extend her remand until the end of proceedings against her.

The same ruling was given against Ahed  Tamimi’s mother, Nariman Tamimi, who also appeared in the widely shared footage. Ahed’s cousin Nour Tamimi was released after being charged for her participation in the December 15 incident.

Ahed Tamimi earlier told the court that the same soldiers featured in the video had shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet an hour before the filmed encounter.

The three Tamimis are facing aggravated assault charges. Ahed’s 12-count indictment also includes a statement she gave to her mother, who was filming the incident and streaming it on Facebook.

Immediately following the squabble, Nariman asked her daughter what kind of message she wanted to convey to viewers.

“I hope that everyone will take part in the demonstrations, as this is the only means to achieve the result,” she said. “Our strength is in our stones. Whether it is stabbings or suicide bombings or throwing stones, everyone must do their part and we must unite in order for our message to be heard that we want to liberate Palestine,” Tamimi said.

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